October 31, 2011

Inspiration: The Blue Mosque & Le Bain

Bathroom ReDo
Blue Mosque photo; Turkish Hand Towels; Medallion Shower Curtain; Bellocq TeaBrooklyn Hard Candy; Soap Pump 
We have a beautiful photo of the ceiling of The Blue Mosque in Istanbul in our bathroom. We've had it hung there since we moved in four years ago. It's a large print, that up close looks kind of fuzzy, but the further you step back, the more in focus the image becomes, revealing the intricate beauty that embodies the ornament of the mosque. It's so lovely and it will always remind me of the two crazy weeks I spent cruising around the Mediterranean Sea with one of my closest friends on this earth. 

In my recent effort to spruce the house up a bit, the picture served as the perfect jumping off point to take our bathroom in a new decorative direction. Since our bathroom is fairly small, we decided to keep the color palette light, so as not to make the space feel too enclosed, but allowing for darker, richer accent pieces. While visiting New York in September, I picked up a beautiful Turkish Hand Towel at ABC Carpet & Home; a tight weaved chevron pattern in a deep eggplant color that compliments the blues and reds in the picture. I found a lovely white shower curtain with varying shades of blue medallions on West Elm's website that's the perfect length (74" in length because our shower rod is a bit high) and style. In an effort to keep costs low, we repurposed a few objects we had into bathroom accessories. We brought a jar of Brooklyn Hard Candy home with us from New York and after eating all the delicious candy, we're now using it to store Q-tips. Same story with our tin of Bellocq Tea, after enjoying the "Little Dickens" out of  the tea, we cleaned out the canister and it now holds our toothbrushes. Last but not least, we finally added a real soap dispenser to the bathroom; sorry Mrs. Meyer's, the plastic pump just wasn't cutting it anymore. 

October 26, 2011

Of the Moment: Kilim

via Remodelista
In my quest to mix things up decor-wise with our house, I've completely fallen for vintage kilim rugs, especially when they've been remade into pillow covers. I'm fairly certain my attraction to kilim pillows began about two years ago on my first trip to Santa Fe, NM, as documented by this photo I took of a pillow in the house we were staying in:

Since that trip, my preoccupation with kilim pillows has deepened, immensely. I love the variety of colors; I love all the different intricate designs; and I love that each feels like its own unique masterpiece. Their visual appeal is the same whether they stand on their own or are used in pairs and groups; they're versatile.

via Apartment Therapy

Residence Magazine via Undecorate
via Apartment Therapy

I haven't pulled the trigger yet and bought any for our home, as they can be a little on the pricey side. I've got my eye on several ebay stores that carry them at reasonable prices (here and here) because I think a pair of them would look divine on our tan leather sofa. Until I find just the right ones, in just the right size, I'll continue ogling them from afar. 

October 18, 2011

Weekend Snapshots

Last weekend was full of goodness and preparation for Autumn's arrival: long dinners at new-to-us restaurants, pumpkin roasting, leisurely walks in the park with Lily, and a bit of new home decor. There's nothing like changing up the usual routine to usher in a new season both weather-wise and life-wise.

Homemade pumpkin puree

Sugar & Spice Pepitas via FoodJoy

Sweet Lily

Homemade Pumpkin Butter via here
Enjoying a Pumpkin Ale while making Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin was unintentionally the predominant theme of this weekend, both in taste and in color. I suppose when you have two sugar pumpkins sitting in your kitchen, they have a way of taking over!

October 11, 2011

Inspiration: An Everlasting Meal

Simply cook - it's what I told myself last week and it's what I'll tell myself again this week. I'll probably have to tell myself this for many weeks to come, so I was so happy to discover this soon to be released book. An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar E. Adler explores just that, the idea of cooking as a way of thinking rather than a list of complicated ingredients and instructions. I can't express how encouraging it is to find resources that reinforce an idea you've had in your head for some time and have been trying to act upon, but might need a little more direction and inspiration. 

Tamar E. Adler
In anticipation of the book's release next Tuesday, I've spent some time on Adler's website and blog, where she shares excerpts and further explores some of the ideas she discusses in her book. I especially love the video series she has started, that she describes as such:

"Instead of standard instructional videos, we wanted to illustrate the  essence of the strategies and mindsets in An Everlasting Meal, both to get you excited about reading it and get you excited about the conveniences and pleasures of the kitchen."

This video is just lovely (as I know the book will be too!).

How to Stride Ahead - Part Two from CJ Richter on Vimeo.

October 6, 2011

Of the Moment: Succulents

Inside via dD
For a few weeks now, I've been craving the color green. Not to wear or paint my walls in, but something green and living. Maybe it's the awfully yellow/brown drought that we're in, or perhaps it's that I'm trying to breath new life into our home. Whatever it may be, I've got succulents on my mind. Specifically for a little nook of a spot on a side table in our living room; just one, in a tiny little pot...I think it would be perfect.

Poketo via Culture Club
For Me For You - this print is for sale for a good cause too!

October 5, 2011

Eats: Simply Cook

As I'm in the process of creating a so-called "mindful home" and re-evaluating some of my daily routines and habits, I've found I've been able to translate some of  Karen Maezen Miller's Mindful Home tips into other areas of my home life as well. Her tip about doing the laundry without resentment, well, I don't have that problem, as N usually does most all of the laundry. So in my mind, I changed her tip to read like this:

"Empty the Refrigerator and the Pantry: Do the cooking without resentment or commentary and have an intimate encounter with the very flavors of life." 

Don't misunderstand me, I do love to cook, but mostly on weekends when I have all the time I want to leisurely get a meal together. On any given weekday, after 8 hours of work, I tend to resent the fact that I have to cook a meal when I get home. N may do laundry, but he doesn't cook, at least not very often. In shifting my viewpoint towards our home, I've also shifted my view on cooking meals. If we're simplifying our life by simplifying our home, why shouldn't I also simplify cooking by simplifying the meals I'm making? Good food doesn't have to be complicated, neither does putting a meal on the table each night. A bit of inspiration and a good mindset is all that's needed.

Christopher Baker via Real Simple Magazine
Having a 7 hour flight delay last weekend sure did help me discover some great cooking inspiration, like October's issue of Real Simple Magazine featuring A Month of Easy Dinners. For me, meal ideas are what I'm lacking; once I've got an idea, I can adapt the recipe by changing out ingredients or the preparation to our liking. Shrimp tacos? Why yes, I believe we'll have those on Monday night with fresh Mexican crema and the last of the summer corn. Pasta with sausage and tomatoes? Why, I don't mind if I do, but let's make it with fresh angel hair pasta and San Marzano tomatoes instead.

Christopher Bake via Real Simple Magazine
The key is to simply cook and by cooking, enjoy all the flavors life offers us. 

October 4, 2011

Inspiration: A Mindful Home

…’to live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich…
— an excerpt from William Henry Channing’s symphony  (via operation simplicity)

Lately, I've been on a home "mixing things up" kick. You can think of it as home improvement, without all the saw dust, tools and physical labor, but still encompassing the idea of improving the environment we live in by better utilizing our space, changing some decorative aspects and organizing. I've realized how much the state of our home affects my mindset and my outlook on life; the home truly is a reflection of your state of mind and mine has needed some major improvements over the past few months. Nothing drastic of course, but pushing myself to make the extra effort to put my bowl in the dishwasher instead of leaving it out or making our bed each and every morning, I realized I come home feeling better about things in general. Aesthetically speaking, I've needed to change things up too, but in small, subtle and inexpensive ways: new art on the walls, new pillows on the couch, etc; small aspects that can make a big impact in a room. I've been supremely inspired by Joslyn and her two blogs, Operation Simplicity and Simple Lovely, in her quest for living a simple, well curated life. I found this gem through her blog and have these tips written up in my home as a gentle reminder to take the time and make the effort to create a mindful home. 

 Karen Maezen Miller's  via Simple Lovely

October 1, 2011

New York: Big Lights Will Inspire You

There's nothing like a trip to the big city to bring new inspiration to your life. Time away from home is always good; it clears your mind and enlightens a new perspective. I actually began snapping photos again - something I haven't done in months.  Even though they were taken with my phone, I think they turned out really well. Here are some of my favorites:
Chocolate Sorbet, The Chocolate Room, Brooklyn
The High Line
Meatpacking District
Hudson River
Windows, Former Nabisco Factory
Chelsea Piers
Manhattan Sunset
Char No. 4, Brooklyn
911 Memorial
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, Brooklyn


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